Shooting turkeys


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Shooting turkeys
By Bobby Neal Winters
I got a call last week from my old friend Bubba. He was calling from Boston, Massachusetts.
“What are you doing in Boston of all places?” I asked.
Bubba is not what you would imagine to be a Boston sort of character. Though a life-long Democrat, he has a tendency to set his jaw when he hears the words Ted and Kennedy said too close together in a sentence. In addition, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him say the word Massachusetts, since the first time he heard it pronounced “Tax-a-chusetts.”
“I won a trip up there for coming in first at the Oklahoma State Champion Turkey Shoot,” he replied.
“Really?” I was incredulous. “I didn’t know you hunted turkeys.”
“I don’t,” he said.
“But how then...?”
He cut me off before I could ask him how he could have won the state championship turkey shoot if he didn’t hunt turkeys.
“Don’t you know it’s rude to interrupt?” he asked. “You are going to have to let me finish.”
So I did.
As you may recall, he’d inherited a little land just the other side of Wapanuka. This is part of a wild area that is about 20 miles across with no roads going into it. It’s an undeveloped region, though there had been an enterprise attempted by a local entrepreneur who raised emus.
“Emus?” I asked.
“They are those big ostrich-looking birds,” he said. “A bunch of folks started raising ‘em thinkin’ that they would make a lot of money. Then they found out it was a lot harder than it looked.”
The particular individual in question had given it a good try for a number of years before giving up. Then, instead of selling the birds (if he’d been able to sell them he wouldn’t have gone out of business) or eating the birds (if anyone wanted to eat them, then he’d been able to sell them), he just opened the gate, turned them loose in the wild, and moved back to town.
“I was over there on my land checking things out,” he said. “I always carry a twelve-gauge around in case I surprise any rattlers. I was walking through the woods on my way over to check on a place where I’d caught some kids partying one time, heard a limb snap, turned around, and there was an emu right behind me. My finger squeezed the trigger involuntarily like Dick Cheney did on that lawyer a while back, and I bagged me an emu.”
Bubba then went on to explain how he’d taken the emu to be weighed-in for the turkey contest.
“They weren’t quite convinced it was a turkey, but the twelve-gauge did such a good job on it they couldn’t figure out what else it might be, so I got me a trip to Bean-town,” Bubba said.
I shoot my head at my friend’s luck.
“So what do you make of Bean...uh...Boston?” I couldn’t quite make myself say Bean-town.
“It’s different,” he drawled. “You can say that for dang sure. I arrived last Tuesday night after the election and had to pay twenty dollars for a cab to drive me a mile and a half to my hotel.
“The cab driver was a fellow from Ukraine. I asked him what he thought about the election, and he started going off on the Democrats. He said, ‘Here in Tax-a-chusetts all of these immigrants come in and live off government services. All they want is a hand out.’
“I shook my head at that and told him that a hard-working man like himself would fit right in amongst the folks in my neck of the woods, and that all the folks back home work real hard and don’t expect much. I told him that he ought to just move to Oklahoma, but he didn’t say nothin’ to that. Then he set me off at the hotel, moved my bags from the trunk to the curb, and stuck out his hand. I gave him what was on the meter and he seemed confused.
“Anyway, I don’t understand anybody who’d want to get something for nothing, do you?”
I was about to say something about how he won the turkey shoot, but about that time I heard a knock on the door over the phone.
“Sorry,” Bubba said, “room service is here. I’d better let you go. Maybe I will call you next week.”
And with that, he hung up the phone.
(Bobby Winters is a Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, a writer, and a speaker. You may contact him at
LOL, Okie!

An emu dinner for Thanksgiving? That should put a few pilgrim's heads to spinnin'!

P.S. Do they go better with yams or sweet 'taters?
Okie...another gem. Turkeys do come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Some even wear clothing and try to pretent they're human beings...but that's another kettle of fish.

Hi Bobby--

My best friend's parents had an ostrich "ranch" in east Texas. Not emus, but close. I think they opened the gates, as well. Caused some problems in "the hood", I think. Lots of loose big birds, ya know. My friend has several hollow ostrich eggs, which, from what I understand, turned out to be the most valuable thing about raising ostriches--even in "boot country." Imagine that.

Her husband (rest his soul) tried to feed us ostrich several times. But then, he has been accused more than once of eating anything. He loved those birds--turned out to be an "ostrich cartoonist" in some ostrich periodical out of somewhere--oh yeah, Oklahoma.;)

The above doesn't really mean anything, I suppose. Just contributing to the comments. :)

okieinexile said:
Thanks, guys, for your comments. Hope you are all doing well.

Gonna be okay here--doing weller and weller each day. Thanks.

Oh my! LOL! :eek:

A friend just pointed out that it sounds like I'm having a nip of whiskey on a regular basis! This is not the case, although I admit I may have entertained the thought on a couple of recent occasions.

(Edited to add: I don't mean that I think it is wrong for those who can handle that. I just know from experience that it is not for me to dip my toes in Whiskey River.:eek:)

Just thought maybe I should clear that up. Anyway, what was the topic? Wild turkey shots? :D

I'm just digging myself in deeper and deeper here, LOL!